The man who faces police charges after cat-napping his neighbour's moggie is a prominent Auckland doctor who says he was driven to despair by the cat's raids on his Westmere home.
Peter Parkinson, 66, wrote an anonymous letter to the owners of Max, after catching what he thought was a stray cat in his home, wrapping him in a blanket, and taking him across the harbour bridge, releasing him in Northcote.
Parkinson said he was unaware at the time that Max was a well-loved cat - and said he only realised that later when a flyer from Max's distraught owners appeared in his letterbox. It was then that he wrote the note to the owners, with a map showing where Max was dropped.
However, Max was returned only after a homeowner found him huddling under a house in Northcote.
Parkinson, a self-proclaimed cat lover, said yesterday that he was surprised police were now looking at charging him. He said it was a "ridiculous situation".
"I'm surprised police have spent resources on this... My cat was trashed and bleeding on many occasions."
Max had made frequent visits to the house, attacking his own cat, Chiquita, eating her catfood and defecating in corners of the home. "I had to do something. It had been invading our house for the best part of a year. It mutilated our cat."
He captured Max one night by throwing a blanket over him, and placing him in a box. He said he rang the SPCA's national and local offices, but neither was interested.
His letter to Max's owners, Lisa Morice and her architect husband Chris, outlined how Max had been regularly coming through his cat door and attacking his cat. The letter said Max had been locked in the house and after a two-hour "cat and mouse" chase had been caught and taken on "a vacation overseas".
The letter showed a map of the North Shore and indicated a spot called "Max's Hilton".
Parkinson said he had tried to contact Max's owners through the police since the furore broke, but had not heard anything. He wanted to come to a solution to avoid anyone else encountering a similar situation. He believed cats all should have an identification tag.
Parkinson has an extensive CV, listing a career that includes work as a lecturer in academic medicine in London and general practice in London and New Zealand. He is also a stonemason and established a house for street kids in London. These days he works primarily as a mentor in the medical and corporate fields and runs a private therapeutic practice from home in Westmere.
Max, a green-eyed, 5kg tabby and white long-haired domestic, is meanwhile settling back into feline splendour after his travels.
He came into the lives of 47-year-old Westmere librarian Lisa Morice and husband Chris as a young stray. He's now six years old and is very loose and relaxed with his family, which includes a 21-year-old daughter and twin 17-year-old sons. "Nothing bothered him until this," says Lisa.
"Now he's very jumpy and distressed, especially when men come into the house."
The family has lived in the area 18 years and Lisa feels the incident is "not a nice thing for the neighbourhood. We still feel quite spooked about it. It's beyond my comprehension how anyone could do this.
"There must have been 20 other ways to deal with the situation. Max is a very big boy. Quite obviously he's not a stray."